After giving me the casting vote last week, this week you all decided that you were on the very same page! Pardon the pun…
It’s fascinating from where I’m sitting watching the way the storylines are unfolding for these four boys. I truly love and cherish what we are doing here together every week.
Enjoy this week’s chapter and—DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Love Toni xx
Pet and her band didn’t disappoint.
She gave it her all and after three encores the crowd remained on their feet demanding more.
“They’re amazing,” Dylan leaned over and said to me. I could barely hear him through the roar that continued to come from the crowd down below us.
I hadn’t noticed until now, but our secure area of the club sat on a mezzanine, well above the braying of the general crowd below.
Six separate booths sat in a clam shape around the curve of the mezzanine balcony. It became clear why we’d been ushered to this private area of the club when not long after the dance music had begun below us, Pet and the rest of the band appeared upstairs.
“Hey guys, you enjoy the show?” Pet appeared to be asking us all the question, but anyone looking on could see that the only person’s approval she was looking for was Marty’s.
“Fantastic,” Marty replied and I knew he wasn’t gushing just because he’d been backstage with the lead singer of the band.
“You were bloody great,” I added.
“Cool,” Jesse said. His anger and resentment had melted away during the nearly ninety minutes that the band had been on stage. In fact, he was looking more like the Jesse that I knew and loved, not that drunken animal I’d had to contain earlier in the evening.
I made a mental note.
Find out what’s really going on for Jesse.
I’d been a part of one band where a key player had gone off the rails. I wasn’t about to let it happen again, no matter how much digging I had to do to get at the truth.
“We’re really looking forward to working with you,” Dylan said as he took on his newly self-appointed leadership role and stepped out of the booth and began introducing himself to Pet’s band.
Once he’d acquainted himself with the other four members of Ace Revolution, Dylan took the lead and cross-introduced everyone.
Jesse took an immediate shine to Pet’s bass player, DM Ball and the two of them fell into conversation as if they were long lost buddies.
A call for a tray of beers and the band and Jesse departed for an adjacent vacant booth.
“I’ll keep an eye on him,” Dylan said as he followed in the wake of Pet’s band.
That left me, sitting in the booth with the two love-birds, Marty and Pet.
“Maybe I should join them,” I mentioned in a casual kind of way. I’d seen enough of men and women falling in love to understand the nature of the body language being displayed in front of me.
“Nah, stay a while,” Pet said with an authority that surprised me. I watched as her hand fell across Marty’s on the top of the table and she gave it a quick, reassuring squeeze. “We’ve got plenty of time to get to know each other, right?”
Marty nodded in agreement.
“The rest of the band’s really looking forward to having you guys support us,” Pet said as she took a dainty sip from the bottle of beer that had mysteriously arrived in front of her. “Like I said to Marty earlier,” and she thew him the warmest of smiles, it was enough to make my heart melt, I couldn’t imagine the effect it was having on poor old, Marty. “We loved what you guys did at the house party. We’re label mates, so let’s all look out for each other.”
Marty and Pet clearly didn’t need looking out for, it was Jesse who played on my mind tonight.
“Hey look,” I said trying to be as diplomatic as possible, “I think you guys need some alone time to talk. I’ll be over here with the rest of the band if you need me.”
“Oh, okay. If you like,” Pet replied.
Marty just gave me a thumbs up as I stood up to leave.
“Besides,” Pet added, turning her attention back to Marty, “I want to talk to this guy about collaborating with us on some songs. I just love what he’s written for you guys.”
You didn’t have to have good eyesight to see the colour creeping up Marty’s face.
I wasn’t leaving just to be a good guy.
Watching the two of them together made me realise, again, how badly I’d screwed things up with Alannah.
And that still hurt.
Running the hills in LA was nothing like running the waterfront in Auckland, but I was grateful for the early morning workout and to escape the heat of the day which would soon be upon us.
The rest of the band were still in bed when I greeted the sun.
I’d thought about talking to Jesse last night—but he’d settled after the show and he still had so much alcohol on board, I knew I wouldn’t get a straight answer from him, anyway. Best to catch him this morning when he may harbour a vestige of guilt and shame about his behaviour in the early part of the evening.
Dylan and Marty, bless the two of them, had chalked it all up to some kind of strange nerves and put it behind them.
But I knew that there was more to this than nerves. But what, that was the question?
The fact that Marty had Pet to think about, never mind a possible song-writing collaboration with her band probably helped him let go of Jesse’s bad behaviour.
Dylan had been equally blown away by Pet’s band’s compliments about us.
If the truth be told, I was pretty stoked too.
To have the likes of Stewart Lackner who I’ve admired on drums for years tell me that he liked and respected what I was doing.
What could I say?
It had been a great evening all round.
Stewart and DM had been the back line of Pet’s band right from the start. They had the kind of tight arrangement that I knew Jesse and I were capable of. Me and Jesse still had some inroads to go though until we were anywhere near the tight unit that Stewart & DM had become—but hanging with these guys and working with them would give us both great insights and I was excited for our future.
I’d just climbed out of the water when Jesse arrived poolside with a cup of hot coffee in his hand.
He looked rough.
“Good morning.” I couldn’t help but bark the words across towards the pool house verandah.
“What’s so fucking good about it?” Jesse asked as he tried to blow some heat from the steaming cup of liquid in his hand.
“We’re here. We’ve got a great future. We had a good night last night. Didn’t we?” I couldn’t help but add the question at the end.
“From what I remember,” Jesse murmured. “Early part of the night’s a bit of a blank.”
“You behaved like a complete arsehole.”
“Really?” Jesse pulled a set of dark glasses off the top of his head and over his eyes to shield them from the bright light now beginning to radiate from the pool.
“Yeah. What the fuck’s going on? You got the hots for Marty’s girl?”
“Fuck no,” Jesse looked appalled. “What gave you that idea?”
I shrugged. “Just your shitty behaviour last night.”
“Crap. What did I do?”
“You settled down when I told you I was shipping you back here.”
“Well that’s a relief,” Jesse replied as he took a tentative sip of his hot beverage.
I took the cushions of the webbing seat beside him, laid out my towel and sat down. “So you gonna tell me what’s going on?”
“What do you mean, what’s going on?” Jesse gazed out across the aqua blue of the pool, but I could see the muscles in his neck moving where his teeth were grinding together.
“I’ve known you long enough to know when you’ve got a bee up your arse, now out with it.”
Jesse pushed the glasses back up on his head and turned to face me.
The red veins in the whites of his eyes told me more than he could ever tell me right this minute.
“This just between you and me?”
“Always,” I replied.
“We’ve been here before right,” Jesse said, an earnest look on his face. “I mean like not in the US, but overseas with a new band, being well received.”
“Yeah,” I wasn’t sure where he was going, but I let him talk.
“And look what happened to Steve.”
“What happened with Steve isn’t going to happen with Dylan. You and I both know that.”
“But do we, really?”
“Mate. You’ve gotta put the Steve shit behind you. Dylan’s not like that. Neither’s Marty. You’ve seen the way they work. You saw what went down with the last sound guy. This is not going to slip through your fingers. Not again.” Then I thought better of it. “Well, it might if you behave like a dick the way you did last night.”
Jesse grimaced. “Fuck,” he ran his hand through his straw-like hair. “Who do I have to apologise to?”
“Is that all?”
“I think Dylan’s already forgiven you.”
“Shit…” Marty took a moment. Drank some of his coffee, gazed out across the pool and then thought better of it and pulled the shades back over his eyes.
“I really want this, you know,” he said his eyes still fixed on the distance beyond the pool.
“Me too,” I replied. “That’s why we can’t let fear fuck it up for us.”
“We won’t,” Jesse said, “I promise you that.”
I believed his words. But it still rattled me that he’d been scared enough to try to fuck this whole thing up for us.
“Well, if we’re gonna give old Stewart and DM a run for their money, you need to fucking get a grip. We got practice in two hours. Go get the rest of them out of bed and get some food into them.”
“Food,” Jesse moaned.
“And get some in yourself,” I added.
We had a long day of rehearsals ahead of us and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let anyone suffering a hangover get in the way of the work we needed to be doing.
I needed us to be on top of our game. We were opening for Ace Revolution in five days and I wasn’t about to let anyone screw that up for us.
Then my phone beeped.
I rummaged around on the table for my running shorts, found my phone and checked the screen.
An email from Alannah.
I saw one word, “Help!”
* * *
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